Whats The Best Way To Reverse Prediabetes
The best way is a combination of 1) whatever way works for you and 2) whatever way is sustainable.
Some people can control their blood sugar with modifications to their diet and lifestyle, while others need medication as well. The most important thing is to collaborate with your doctor to find the treatment plan that gets your blood sugar in check and keeps it there so that you dont develop T2D.
Factors That Increase Your Risk Of Prediabetes
While mainstream media often depicts type 2 diabetes as the result of being overweight, not exercising, and eating unhealthy food, it is significantly more complex.
There are actually two pathways that lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The first is basic insulin resistance, which means your body needs more and more insulin in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. At a certain point, the pancreas cant keep up with the demand, and blood sugars begin to rise.
The second is a genetic disposition that results in the gradual dysfunction and destruction of your pancreas beta-cells. Beta-cells play the leading role in insulin production, and many people with type 2 diabetes struggle to actually produce normal amounts of insulin.
Determining which group you are in isnt easy, or even possible for the average patient.
For patients in this second group, reversing diabetes isnt likely possible, but that doesnt mean you cant take steps towards improving your health isnt worthwhile.
The most important factors that increase your risk of prediabetes are:
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What Is A Normal A1c
Now that you have your A1c number, lets look at what that number actually tells you. The American Diabetes Association has established the following guidelines:
This does NOT mean that you need an A1c of less than 5.7% if youre living with diabetes. It means that if you do NOT live with diabetes, your A1c is expected to be below 5.7%. There are different recommendations for what an appropriate A1c is for people living with diabetes.
I had a chance to asked Dr. Anne Peters, MD, Director, USC Clinical Diabetes Program and Professor of Clinical Medicine Keck School of Medicine of USC as well as Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, owner and Clinical Director of Integrated Diabetes Services and author of Think Like a Pancreas, what their perspectives are on a good A1c target:
The A1c target should be whatever is best given the persons clinical situation. For athletes, too many lows can limit performance, for someone who is pregnant it should be < 6%, for an older person the target should be higher. I generally think an A1c target of 6.0 7.0% is ideal and data shows that going below 7% has fairly little impact on complications. Basically, Id rather see someone with an A1c of 6.9% and low blood sugar variability than an A1c of 6.2% with lots of variability
Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE:
To learn more about blood sugar levels, please read What are Normal Blood Sugar Levels.
Can Prediabetes Be Reversed
For some, prediabetes is reversible if it is the simple result of weight gain and unhealthy habits. For many, however, prediabetes is the result of the bodys gradual destruction of beta-cells.
Beta-cells play a critical role in insulin production. More and more research today regarding type 2 diabetes demonstrates that approximately 60 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are experiencing a lack of insulin production through beta cell dysfunction and destruction.
It is now well recognized that 2 factors are involved: impaired function and insulin resistance, explains John E. Gerich, MD, in a study published by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Prospective studies of high-risk populations have shown insulin-resistance and/or insulin-secretory defects before the onset of impaired glucose tolerance.
This means that while you should absolutely still pursue healthier habits around nutrition, exercise, weight-loss, sleep, quitting smoking, the gradual progression of your disease means your diagnosis is here to stay.
That being said, making any changes you can in your habits can play a tremendous role in whether or not you need to start taking diabetes medications or if you need to start insulin injections to help bring your blood sugars down to a healthy level.
Read more on reversing diabetes: Is Type 2 Diabetes Reversible?
Prediabetes is diabetes. The sooner you take action, the sooner you improve your health.
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What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels
Your blood sugar levels are a critical part of your overall health and your bodys ability to function properly on a daily basis.
For those of us with diabetes, striving to achieve normal blood sugar levels is a constant, hour-by-hour pursuit. And it isnt easy.
In this article, well look at normal blood sugar levels and goal ranges for a non-diabetics body, and realistic blood sugar goals for people with prediabetes, type 1, and type 2 diabetes.
How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
- Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
- Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.
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Fasting Glucose Goal: 72
Why? Previously we discussed that the ADA considers normal fasting glucose as anything < 100 mg/dl. However, multiple research studies show that as fasting glucose increases, there is an increased risk of health problems like diabetes and heart disease even if it stays within the normal range. The highlights of some of the study results include:
- Men whose fasting blood glucose was greater than 85 mg/dl had a significantly higher mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases than men with blood sugars less than 85 mg/dl.
- People with fasting glucose levels in the high normal range had significantly increased cardiovascular disease risk than people whose levels remained below 80 mg/dl.
- Children with fasting glucose levels 86-99 mg/dl had more than double the risk of developing prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes as adults when compared with children whose levels were less than 86 mg/dl.
- People with fasting glucose levels between 91-99 mg/dl had a 3-fold increase in Type 2 diabetes risk compared to those with levels less than 83 mg/dl.
- Among young, healthy men, higher fasting plasma glucose levels within the normal range constitute an independent risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. This means that as fasting glucose increases, even if the level is still considered normal, it could indicate a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes, and this is particularly pronounced if BMI is greater than 30. .
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What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, comes from the food you eat. Your body creates blood sugar by digesting some food into a sugar that circulates in your bloodstream.
Blood sugar is used for energy. The sugar that isnt needed to fuel your body right away gets stored in cells for later use.
Too much sugar in your blood can be harmful. Type 2 diabetes is a disease thats characterized by having higher levels of blood sugar than whats considered within normal limits.
Unmanaged diabetes can lead to problems with your heart, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels.
The more you know about how eating affects blood sugar, the better you can protect yourself against diabetes. If you already have diabetes, its important to know how eating affects blood sugar.
Your body breaks down everything you eat and absorbs the food in its different parts. These parts include:
- vitamins and other nutrients
The carbohydrates you consume turn into blood sugar. The more carbohydrates you eat, the higher the levels of sugar youll have released as you digest and absorb your food.
Carbohydrates in liquid form consumed by themselves are absorbed more quickly than those in solid food. So having a soda will cause a faster rise in your blood sugar levels than eating a slice of pizza.
Fiber is one component of carbohydrates that isnt converted into sugar. This is because it cant be digested. Fiber is important for health, though.
- white grain products, such as pasta and rice
- cold processed cereals
What Is High Blood Sugar
A healthy human body thrives when blood sugar levels are generally between 70 to 130 mg/dL throughout the day. While everyone including non-diabetics will likely experience blood sugar levels above this range because of big meals, this is the general goal range.
With low blood sugars, theres one number for everyone that is considered low 70 mg/dL because dipping below this becomes dangerous for everyone. But high blood sugars are more complicated because being slightly above the goal ranges listed below doesnt equate to immediate danger and may actually be safer for some people based on other health conditions and their age.
According to the American Diabetes Asociation and the Mayo Clinic, optimal blood glucose levels are:
Blood sugar goals for a non-diabetic:
- Between 80 and 120 mg/dL for people age 59 and younger with no additional medical conditions
- Below 100 mg/dL when fasted
- Between 100 and 140 mg/dL for people age 60 and older if they have additional health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, etc.
Blood sugar goals for a person with type 1 or type 2 diabetes:
- Between 80 and 130 mg/dL fasted
- Less than 180 mg/dL within two hours after meals
High blood sugar levels become dangerous when:
- Youre high for a consistent period of time, even when you wake up in the morning
- Youre running above 180 mg/dL on a regular basis
- Youre running above 250 mg/dL on a regular basis very dangerous
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Prediabetes: Symptoms Diagnosis & Treatment
The day youre diagnosed with prediabetes can feel like a remarkably scary day. It can also be a day that motivates you to take action. While type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease , there are still many things you can do to improve your blood sugars right away.
In fact, prediabetes is type 2 diabetes in its earliest stages which is why it shouldnt be dismissed or taken lightly. Youve earned the pre in front of diabetes because while your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, they simply arent high enough to qualify for full-fledged type 2 diabetes.
For some, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is reversible. For others, it may not be.
In this article, well look at the symptoms of prediabetes, how its diagnosed, how its treated, and whether or not it can be reversed.
Normal Blood Sugar Range After Meals
Glucose is a main source of energy for the body, and some amount of glucose, or sugar, always needs to be present in the blood to ensure this energy reaches all of the body cells. But a problem in both prediabetes and diabetes is that too much sugar stays in the blood, and over time these abnormally high levels can harm the body. To reduce the risk of health problems, blood sugars need to be kept as close to a normal range as possible. Monitoring your own blood sugar is the only way to tell if you are keeping your day-to-day readings — both before and after meals — within an acceptable range.
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Why You Should Care About Your A1c
Multiple studies have shown that high average blood sugars increase the risk of diabetes-related complications. Lowering your A1c to the recommended range will reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications significantly:
- Eye disease risk is reduced by 76%
- Kidney disease risk is reduced by 50%
- Nerve disease risk is reduced by 60%
- Any cardiovascular disease event risk is reduced by 42%
- Nonfatal heart attack, stroke, or risk of death from cardiovascular causes is reduced by 57%
Achieving an A1c in the recommended range is, therefore, one of the most important things you can do to improve your long-term health when you live with diabetes.
However, the closer you get to the recommended A1c target, the less benefit you will get from lowering your A1c further. Taking your A1c from 12% to 11% makes a big difference while lowering your A1c from 7% to 6% provides a much smaller benefit. In fact, lowering your A1c too much may not be a good idea if it means that you increase how often you experience hypoglycemia .
I will explain why time-in-range is just as important as a low A1c later in this guide.
Blood Sugar Levels And Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you may be wondering what your blood glucose should be. Hopefully your doctor, nurse practitioner, physicians assistant or whoever diagnosed you has given you answers to that question. Unfortunately, though, not everyone is given glucose goals. Or in some cases, it may have been a long time ago, and theyve since been forgotten. No worries well go over all that!
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Levels In People With Diabetes
Measuring glucose levels after meals is important not just for diagnosis, but in the treatment of diabetes too. Results obtained during home testing can reveal whether you need an insulin shot to move excess sugar out of your blood and into cells.
Non-fasting sugar levels among adults with type 1 diabetes should be:
- Before meals: From 90 to 130 mg/dL
- After meals : Less than 180 mg/dL
- At bedtime: From 90 to 150 mg/dL
Non-fasting glucose levels among adults with type 2 diabetes should be:
- Before meals: From 70 to 130 mg/dL
- After meals : Less than 180 mg/dL
- At bedtime: From 90 to 150 mg/dL
It is possible to get a falsely high A1C result. This is most likely to happen in someone with low iron levels, kidney failure, or liver disease. Certain medications or vitamin supplements like vitamin E can also increase your A1C levels. Stress and poor sleep habits can also play a role in elevated A1C levels.
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